Thursday, 17 September 2009

AccessApps - Free Portable Software on a Stick

We have been focussing quite a lot on accessibility recently, coinciding with the launch of a new initiate that is loaning e-learning technology to learning providers. As well as the loans we have given several staff a suite of portable software applications that they can keep, and use without the need to buy licences or install programmes – everything runs from the USB stick. This collection of programmes is called AccessApps and has been developed by RSC Scotland in conjunction with TechDis.

The AccessApps site has more information about the suite of programmes and the video below will tell you more about how it can benefit those involved in education or training.

Find more videos like this on RSC Access and Inclusion

Some of the applications contained on Access Apps are generic tools (word processing, spreadsheet and presentation alternatives to the Microsoft Office suite). Others cater for specific needs, such as a software to support dyslexic students or those with a disability. There are currently over 40 applications in the suite and the list is growing.

All of the software on Access Apps is also available to download directly from RSC Scotland’s site allowing you to pick and choose just those tools you might want to have. For example if you’re a tutor who think mind maps might make a useful addition to your lesson, there’s a free mind mapping tool. Or if you’d like an image editor, there’s one there too. A handy user guide also provides a useful training or reference manual to share with staff that have the usb sticks.

With accessibility being such a key issue at the moment, (it’s also been noted as a priority area for some funding applications) we have included a session on accessibility at our next e-learning forum. That should inform providers not only of why it is important but what support exists to measure and develop your levels of accessibility.

In the meantime, as AccessApps continues to go from strength to strength, why not get yourself a copy of it to use or to share? A USB stick chock full of productivity resources is useful to staff, and learners alike. And in this case it’s also free. :-)


Related wobble links:

Accessibility Overview

To read more of Wobble click here.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Funding for Creating e-Learning Resources

Independent work based learning providers will soon be able to bid for a share of £1 million capital funding in a new e-learning content creation (ECC) programme from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC). This programme will be managed by the Association of Learning Providers and will complement the highly successful Learning Innovation Grant programme.

From the ALP website:

“ALP is delighted to announce in addition to the £3m LIG 5 fund, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), via the LSC, has released a further £1m grant fund to the ALP for providers in the sector to test how high quality e-learning content could be pump-primed to improve the cost effectiveness of delivery.

This exciting new e-learning content creation (ECC) programme aims to identify gaps in the e-learning content market, particularly to support new industries. It will focus on the development of e-learning content that will have a direct impact on improving the learning experience, the service provided to employers and business efficiencies.

ALP strongly encourages providers to form a consortium to bid for the large scale projects. Between 2 – 4 proposals will be successful with the bid value set from £250,000 - £500,000.

It is anticipated the ECC prospectus and application form will be available at the end of September.”

I’ll post more information about this initiative as they are released and will be happy to work with any providers who wish to explore options in this area.

To read more of Wobble click here.

Image "Money" from Flickr (Kindly shared by coda)

Monday, 14 September 2009

Free Hairdressing Resources

Last week our Information Officer posted an article on our website about a new batch of hairdressing resources that are now freely available online. These are high quality videos that demonstrate popular hairdressing techniques, such as cutting, straightening, and also cover areas such as client consultation and health and safety. They have been developed by Worcester College and have now been shared on the web for others to use.

This is great if you deliver hairdressing training and have a virtual learning environment such a Moodle as they can be very easily linked to from within that. They can also simply be accessed and viewed directly from the webpage, there is no log in or registration required.

These videos were developed with staff from salons in the West Midlands region and it’s great to see such high quality resources for e-learning emerging locally. Having just watched one or two, I’ve learnt a few handy tips from the professionals myself!

For other web based resources (that also include hairdressing) see related wobble posts below.


Related links:

Intute - web resources for education
NLN learning resources, whats on the horizon?

To read more of Wobble click here.

Image "_MG_7162" from Flickr (Kindly shared by by NYCArthur)

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Staff Development (with Funding Attached)

There are several staff development events coming up in this region not will only extend your knowledge of e-learning but also have Capital Grants attached that will help you to buy technology to help move your organisation along.

The table below shows dates of the programmes that have events coming up in the next few months. In case you’re unfamiliar with each programmes format or content I’ve also included summaries below.

It’s also worth noting that in the current round of Learner Innovation Grants, the scoring criteria asks “Has the organisation undertaken e-learning workforce training to develop their ECPD such as E-Guides, Connect, Realise or PDA?” That shows the value of these kind of staff development activities and how it can impact on your organisations attractiveness for funding.

Anyway there’s a lot coming up, as well as our own events which we run in response to your requests. To see the list in full screen, click on the button in the top right corner of the Scribd image below or click here to see these regional events in Google Calendar.

Hope you can make one or two of these dates and look forward to seeing you there!


Summary of Programmes

Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) Leadership and Management Programme - All of the LSIS leadership & e-learning programmes are free. Capital grants of up to £2,100 per organisation funded by the National Learning and Skills Council (NLSC), are available to purchase equipment on completion of the leadership and e-learning programmes. Spaces are limited and early registration is advisable. This can be done online at

E-Guides eCPD – this is a free practical training programme covering what teachers, tutors and trainers need to know about using e-learning and technology. Advanced E-Guides are trained to deliver the E-Guide training within their organisations or to a cluster of organisations. The training is free so there is no cost to participate. Funding is also available. Click here for further information, including how to apply for training.

eCPD Professional Development Advisers (PDAs) – This training is for staff with responsibility for driving the use of technology in teaching and learning across their organisation. The programme includes two days of face-to-face training, complemented by personalised mentoring and coaching support. A Capital Grant of seven hundred pounds is available for successfully nominated PDA’s to purchase equipment that will support them in their role. More information is available online.

To read more of Wobble click here.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Bid Writing Resources

It’s official, another £3miilion pounds has now been made available to support the development of e-learning in the work based learning sector. The Association of Learning Providers has now published documents for the fifth round of Learner Innovation Grants on their website.

I know a number of you are working away at bids (between £25,000 and £150,000 per project this time) so it seems appropriate to share some resources that might help with this process.

After a workshop last year we put together a wiki page that has a number of resources that help with bid writing. On this page:

· Terry Loane's Presentation entitled ‘Just four things’ noted that there are only four things you need to do in order to write a successful bid for project funding - work out what the funder wants, have a good idea, answer the questions and tell a clear story!

· In his presentation - “Why you? Making your Bid Credible" Professor Mark Stiles focused on the issues to address when considering why a funder should choose you over another bid proposing to do the same thing. In his Bidding Do and Don’ts (pdf format) he also offered top tips which outlined what to do and what not to do in a bid and provided a useful checklist.

· Lastly, my colleagues Colin Gallacher and John Dalziel from RSC Northwest, published an Online Guide to Bid Writing which includes contributions from trainers, practitioners, funders, advisors, managers, inspectors and others. You can also access that on the wiki page.

That’s just a couple of resources, highlighted to give you a flavour of the kind of resources that are on our bid-writing wiki page. I hope you find them useful. Please get in touch if you need any additional support advice or guidance. Good luck with your applications!


Related links:

Previous Round of Learner Innovation Grants
New Report - ALP Evaluation of LIG Phase 4 - 2009
List of LIG Phase 4 Funding Allocations

To read more of Wobble click here.